Tomorrow, the 185 mile long Great Allegheny Passage bicycle trail celebrates its completion between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md. with events in Pittsburgh. Along with the C&O Canal Towpath, GAP provides a 335 mile continuous route between Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh.
MORE FROM THE POST-GAZETTE
Ride, festivities planned on last leg of Great Allegheny Passage
“It took us six years to get the last 9 miles completed. Of the whole 150 miles, that was the hardest part”
“The Great Allegheny Passage in the making”
It took almost four decades to build what now is known as the Great Allegheny Passage. It is a remarkable 150-mile trail that connects with the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath in Cumberland, Md., and makes possible a bicycling trip between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. The GAP officially opens tomorrow — Saturday, June 15.
Building the GAP seemed like an insurmountable challenge when the project was conceived, from finding the right name for the trail to finding funding to reconstruct the Big Savage Tunnel, the longest tunnel on the trail. Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, a coalition of rail-trail organizations that built and maintains the trail, told the PG’s Larry Walsh, “Getting the [$12.5 million] for the Big Savage Tunnel … was the absolute biggest challenge. It came close to not happening.”
But it did get done, thanks to audacious people such as Linda Boxx and Jack Paulik, who came out of retirement to direct construction through the Steel Valley.
I aspire to someday ride the length of it.
UPDATE JUNE 17, 2013
Two more stories:
Bicyclists celebrate reaching end of Great Allegheny Passage trail
Person of Interest: Linda McKenna Boxx of the Allegheny Trail Alliance
Biking Adventures of the Great Allegheny Passage – A blog detailing the weeklong journey from Washington to the Pittsburgh along the C&O and GAP trails.
Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh to D.C. bike trails, nearly finished
PITTSBURGH — I am not sure I can overstate what a wonderful combination of architecture, location, size and that is PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, I only detected one flaw* with the whole ballpark.
*A unscientific sample of Pirates fans agreed with The Onion that there was another flaw – the home team: PNC Park Threatens To Leave Pittsburgh Unless Better Team Is Built
PITTSBURGH — When I was about 7 years old, I determined that adding french fries to the top of a hamburger greatly enhanced that experience and I’ve been doing it ever since. Once, when I was a student at Penn State Hazleton, I had some McDonald’s with me at the beginning of class and I placed some fries on my double-cheeseburger. A classmate walked over and asked if I was from Pittsburgh. I informed him that I was not and while disappointed, he told me that’s how they eat burgers over there. I later learned that the originator of it was Primanti Bros., so one of my goals of the recent trip was to finally try a Primanti Bros. sammich.
We visited the Market Square location not far from PNC Park. Post-game on a Saturday evening, the place was packed and since it was so nice we decided to get take out and sit in the square. The wait was long — about 45 minutes in total. Thankfully, they have a bar and The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus and I ordered some whiskey and enjoyed it responsibly while we waited. Since we were not real hungry after ballpark food, my wife and I decided to split a roast beef sandwich.
In addition to fries, Primanti’s slams cole slaw onto the sammich and I’m using that verb accurately. We opted not to add a fried egg which is offered for an additional charge. The thick white bread is comprised under the weight of the tomato (I took mine off and mourned that it wasn’t used for Heinz ketchup), cole slaw, fries and beef. I’m no fan of cole slaw either, but I left it on for several bites. The fresh cut fries seemed a bit limp as well, something I previously observed ten years earlier at another Pittsburgh landmark, the “Original Hot Dog Shop” which I may go to the next time I’m out there. Overall, we both like the sammich and would go again, though probably not waiting 45 minutes for one.
PITTSBURGH — A few years ago I learned of a book called “The Paris of Appalachia (amazon.com)” Now, using the “Paris of…” for anything is good for a laugh in most cases. I haven’t read the book, but I think the author has a point.
Having spent a weekend in Pittsburgh attending a Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates game at the incredible PNC Park, followed by a delightful evening in Market Square, the claim probably has some merit. Now, granted it was a picture perfect spring day with highs around 73° — the kind the any tourism bureau would use in extolling the virtues of a place. The city was lively without being overcrowded. Skyscrapers on either side of Market Square gave it a sense of place. If we were sitting in the northwestern part section, we’d have heard New Orleans-style band from NOLA on the Square. All we needed was a bottle of wine at our table.
I have not been to Paris, so I can’t say whether it is “the Pittsburgh of Île-de-France” but I hope to someday find out. I’ll probably take a nice evening in Market Square sooner than that though.